The Maine Department of Education and Maine schools follow the provisions of the Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act which aims to minimize the educational disruptions experienced by homeless students.
Under McKinney-Vento, homeless students are guaranteed the right to a free, appropriate, public education. when students become homeless, they can remain enrolled in the schools they have been attending, although they might no longer meet residency requirements. McKinney-Vento also guarantees homeless students the right to enroll i a public school even if they lack the typically required documents and immunizations. In addition, homeless students are guaranteed the transportation they need to attend school.
The Maine DOE is pleased to offer resources and information about the law for school liaisons of education for homeless students on its website.
Accouring to McKinney-Vento, "homeless" can be defined as an individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth:
- Sharing housing due to loss of housing or economic hardship
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate housing
- Living in emergency or transitional housing
- Abandoned in hospitals
- Having a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodations for human beings
- Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
- Migratory Students meeting the description above
The term homeless child does not include a person housed in a correctional facility, jail or detention facility